Bharat Bandh: As traders call for nationwide strike, here's what remains closed, what is open
Over 8 crore traders across the country have called for Bharat Bandh on Friday demanding a review of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). In support of this decision, the All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) has announced a strike from 6 am to 8 pm.
What will be closed?
According to information received from the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), 1500 big and small merchant organizations in all the states including Delhi will mark their protest by not logging into the GST portal. It will also include national and state-level organizations of small scale industries, hawkers, women entrepreneurs and other business owners. However, to ensure this countrywide bandh does not cause any inconvenience, essential services will continue to work. This includes medical stores, milk, vegetable shops, etc.
General stores catering to the needs of the people in residential colonies will also remain open. Most traders say that there will not be much impact on the transportation system. Only business activities are likely to be affected.
Before the announcement of Bharat Bandh, CAIT had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which listed issues related to GST as well as matters related to e-commerce companies. CAIT had also asked the PM to form a 'Special Working Group' at the central level, consisting of senior officials, CAIT representatives and independent tax experts, who would review the GST structure and make suggestions to the government.
CAIT also suggested that a 'District GST Working Group' should also be formed in every district, which would increase the tax base and also increase the revenue. In this letter, CAIT has written that due to some amendments made in the GST recently, government officials have got arbitrary powers. CAIT says that this amendment is in contrast to PM Modi's 'Minimum Government, Maximum Governance' mission and these amendments have created an atmosphere of 'tax terrorism' in the country.
Truck associations on strike
The All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA), the largest organization of transporters, has also announced to support the Bharat Bandh of CAIT, which means that trucks will also observe 'chakka jam' on Friday.
What is the demand of transporters?
Pradeep Singhal, president of All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA), said that earlier, there was a condition of running 100 km in one day, which has now been increased to 200 km. Many times the deadline becomes extremely difficult if there isn't full load. There are many problems regarding the e-way bill, there is a rule of heavy penalty on the e-way bill expiry, which is the amount equal to double the tax amount is being collected as penalty. Officers are also charging fines for minor mistakes. Singhal says that tax should be reduced where there is no tax evasion. Either the e-way bill has to be done away with or be simplified. Instead of the government, those who send or receive the goods should decide the deadline.